Are you planning a vacation and wondering what half board at a hotel means? You’re not alone!

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Half board is a meal plan that includes breakfast and one other meal, usually dinner, at the hotel restaurant or a designated dining venue.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a closer look at what half board at a hotel entails, its advantages and disadvantages, and other things you should know before booking.

What is Half Board?

Half board is a term used by hotels to describe a meal plan that includes both breakfast and dinner. Guests who opt for half board typically pay a fixed rate for their room and two meals a day, which are usually served in the hotel restaurant. Half board is a popular option for travelers who want to enjoy meals without having to worry about finding restaurants or cooking for themselves.

As mentioned, half board includes breakfast and dinner. The exact offerings may vary from hotel to hotel, but breakfast is typically a buffet-style meal with a selection of hot and cold items, such as eggs, bacon, cereal, and fruit. Dinner is usually a three-course meal with a choice of starters, main courses, and desserts.

It is worth mentioning that drinks, snacks, and other meals outside of breakfast and dinner are not included in the half board package. However, some hotels may offer a discount on other meals or drinks for guests who have opted for half board.

It is important to understand the difference between half board and full board when booking a hotel. Full board, as the name suggests, includes three meals a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – in the room rate. This option is ideal for guests who plan to spend most of their time at the hotel or who prefer the convenience of having all meals included.

Half Board Full Board
Meals included Breakfast and dinner Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Cost Cheaper than full board More expensive than half board
Flexibility Guests can eat outside of the hotel Guests are more likely to eat at the hotel

Whether or not half board is worth it depends on the individual traveler’s needs and preferences. For those who plan to spend most of their time exploring the destination and trying local cuisine, half board may not be the best option. However, for those who want to have the convenience of two meals a day at the hotel and prefer to have a set budget for meals, half board can be a cost-effective choice.

Keep in mind that some hotel chains may offer better value for half board packages than others. It is advisable to compare prices and offerings from different hotels before making a decision. Additionally, remember to check for any additional charges or restrictions before booking a half board package.

Unfortunately, some may find the limited selection of meals or lack of flexibility to be a downside of half board. On the other hand, guests who enjoy the convenience and cost-effectiveness of having meals included in the room rate will likely find half board to be a worthwhile option.

Advantages of Half Board

  • Saves Money: One of the biggest advantages of opting for half board at a hotel is that it can save you a significant amount of money, especially if you are staying for an extended period of time. With half board, you get breakfast and dinner included in the price of your room, which means you won’t have to spend as much money on meals throughout the day.
  • Convenience: Another advantage of half board is the convenience it offers. You won’t have to worry about finding a place to eat for breakfast and dinner, which can be particularly helpful if you are in an unfamiliar area. Additionally, if you have children, half board can be a convenient option as you won’t have to search for child-friendly restaurants or worry about your children getting hungry throughout the day.
  • Variety: Many hotels offer a variety of dining options for half board guests, which can be a great way to try new foods and experience different cultures. Some hotels may even offer theme nights or special menus, which can add an element of excitement to your stay.
  • Flexibility: Half board also offers some flexibility in terms of your dining schedule. You can choose to have breakfast and dinner at the hotel or skip one of the meals if you have other plans. This can be particularly useful if you want to explore the local area or have a special occasion to celebrate.

It is worth mentioning that the advantages of half board may vary depending on the hotel and the location. For example, some hotels may offer more variety in their dining options than others, and some locations may have more affordable dining options outside of the hotel. Keep in mind that half board may not be the best option for everyone, so it’s important to consider your individual needs and preferences before making a decision.

Disadvantages of Half Board

While Half Board can be a convenient meal plan for some travelers, it is not without its disadvantages. Below are some of the potential downsides to keep in mind:

  • Limited Choices: When you opt for Half Board, you are usually limited to a specific menu or set of dishes. This means that you may not have as many options to choose from compared to if you were to eat at a local restaurant or explore the area’s food scene.
  • Fixed Meal Times: Half Board typically has set meal times, which can be problematic if you have a busy itinerary or prefer to eat at different times. If you miss the designated meal time, you may have to pay extra or go hungry.
  • Inflexibility: If you have dietary restrictions or preferences, Half Board may not be the best option for you. The set menu may not accommodate your needs, and there may not be any flexibility to change or customize the dishes.
  • Less Local Experience: One of the joys of traveling is experiencing the local culture and cuisine. Half Board can limit your opportunities to try new foods and immerse yourself in the local food scene. You may miss out on discovering hidden gems and authentic local eateries.

It is worth mentioning that these downsides may not apply to everyone, and Half Board can still be a great option for those who prioritize convenience and value. However, it is important to consider these potential drawbacks before making a decision.

Tips for Choosing Half Board

Choosing a half board option for your hotel stay can be a great way to save money while still enjoying the convenience of having meals taken care of. Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing a half board option:

  • Check the Hotel’s Reviews: Before booking a half board option, it is worth checking the hotel’s reviews to see what previous guests have said about the quality and variety of the food. Look for comments about the portion sizes, the freshness of ingredients, and the overall dining experience.
  • Consider Your Itinerary: Think about your itinerary for your trip and decide if a half board option is the best choice for you. If you plan on spending most of your time out and about exploring the area, you may not need to have every meal included in your hotel package.
  • Look for Special Offers: Keep an eye out for special offers or discounts on half board options. Some hotels may offer free meals for children, or discounts for booking a certain number of nights. Comparing prices and offers from different hotels can help you find the best deal.
  • Compare Prices: When comparing half board options, be sure to look at the overall price of the package and consider what is included. Some hotels may offer more meals or include drinks with their half board option, while others may have a lower price but fewer amenities.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can make an informed decision when choosing a half board option for your next hotel stay.


It is worth mentioning that the cost of Half Board varies depending on the hotel and the location, so it is essential to check the rates before making a reservation. Keep in mind that some hotels may offer different meal plans, such as Full Board or All-Inclusive, which may be a better option depending on your needs.

Unfortunately, not all hotels offer Half Board, so it is essential to check beforehand if this is an option you are considering. Remember to always read the fine print and ask any questions you may have before booking to avoid any surprises.

On the other hand, Half Board can be a great way to experience the local cuisine if the hotel offers traditional dishes as part of the meal plan. Additionally, many popular hotel chains, such as Marriott, Hilton, and Accor, offer Half Board options at their properties worldwide, making it easy to find a hotel that suits your needs.


Half board at a hotel can be a great option for travelers who want to enjoy the convenience and cost savings of having meals included in their stay. However, it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before booking and consider your travel itinerary and budget. By following the tips outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and have a great vacation!

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